Top Ten Summer Thoughts, Learnings & Inspirations

Walter_kellyBy Walter Kelly

While the faculty and staff of HPHS have greatly enjoyed our summer, we are excited about welcoming students to and back to our campus. As I return, I want to share with you my top ten inspirations from this summer. While many of these are not new, they each helped me think through what our students and faculty face in our school. The selections are a combination of videos and articles; some are short and some are long. I hope that you find something that is meaningful to you, as well.

1. Steven Johnson: “Where good ideas come from.”

I am fascinated with the ways through which teams and organizations foster high levels of creativity. Specifically, I am fascinated with teams and organizations that are able to leverage great ideas into great actions, and I found significant insight on how we, as a school, can do this through our learning community in Steven Johnson’s “Where good ideas come from.”

2. John Cruz: “Becoming a Masterbuilder”

As many of you are aware, I am a “hack” guitarist. The interview with Fender Masterbuilder John Cruz provides insight into what it means to be a master craftsperson and to do so within a team.

3. Richard Weissbourd: “Moral Development”

Richard Weissbourd challenges our thinking regarding the importance of emphasizing goodness and empathy over happiness and self-esteem in our work with children and each other.

4. Daniel Goleman: “It May Be a Good Job, but Is It ‘Good Work’?”

In his 2008 New York Times article, Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) discusses his definition of “good work” as “a calling that combines excellent performance, expresses one’s ethics and offers a pleasing sense of engagement.” He further analyzes examples that may help us guide our adolescents in their choices for a career that meets their life needs.

5. Scot Scheffler (Go Scots!) Wins USGA Junior Amateur Championship


Scott Scheffler’s performance inspired me this summer! Not only did he win the top junior tournament in the country, he did so with patience, grit and mental discipline. His dedication to his friend, who is a cancer patient, is a reminder that we can help and inspire others in whatever we each do.

6. Annie Murphy Paul: “You’ll Never Learn: Students can’t resist multitasking, and it’s impairing their memory”

Annie Murphy Paul updates us in pitfalls and challenges in our world filled with expectations of multitasking and challenges us to consider these pitfalls in our work with students and in our own lives.

Click here to read Annie Murphy Paul’s article.

7. Salman Khan: “Let’s Use Video To Re-Invent Education”

Khan Academy is a tool that we frequently share with our students as a personal resource. Salman Khan founded the academy in an effort to make all high school course content available online through tutorial videos. At HPHS, we work to find the right balance of online, self-paced learning and traditional instruction.

8. Atul Guwande: “The Difference Between Coaching and Teaching”

A best-selling author and surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, Atul Guwande challenges our thinking regarding what it takes to continually improve personally and within an organization or culture. His examples within medicine are highly applicable to teaching and learning, and his rather lengthy speech to the Harvard Graduate School of Education is great food for thought.

9. Simon Sinek ”How great leaders inspire action.”

In Simon Sinek’s “How great leaders inspire action” provides a best practice study of leaders that profoundly impacted society. More importantly he forwards the importance of asking “why” in meaningful and challenging ways.

10. Maia Szalavitz “10 Ways to Get the Odds Wrong”

Maia Szalavitz analyzes why people are not necessarily great assessors of risk in the modern world and the psychology behind our fears in assessing risks. I believe that we all, including our adolescents, can become more aware and effective in assessing risks if we are aware of our self-drivers.

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